Erica and Kyle envisioned a vintage, Great Gatsby inspired wedding. The bride’s dress had lace hi-lighted with gold accents while the groom sported a burgundy suit. After a traditional Catholic ceremony they took some fun photos downtown. Then they were off to the reception at The El Cortez that was adorned with red velvet tablecloths, crystals, candles and red and ivory blooms.
Venue: El Cortez
Photographer: Bob Hoffman Photography & Video
Catering: Continental Catering
Cake/ Dessert: VG Donut & Bakery; The Baked Bear
Bridal Gown: Jana Ann Couture
Menswear: The Gentlemen’s Tux Club
Jewelry: Kate Spade
Bridal Beauty: Say I Do Updos; Kristina Crandell
By: Kristen Castillo
Getting married in the San Diego area is always a great choice. With great weather, impressive amenities and many venue choices, you can’t go wrong. Whether you want a waterfront vibe, a downtown feel, golf and greenery or sophisticated eateries, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our editor’s picks of San Diego’s best wedding venues. for the hot styles for your ceremony and reception.
The Marine Room
Since it opened in 1941, The Marine Room in La Jolla has been wowing customers. A recipient of AAA’s Four Diamond award, the oceanfront restaurant can accommodate up to 200 people for a wedding. Executive Chef Bernard Guillas’s menu includes global cuisine, especially French classics.
Soak up the waterfront views at this private restaurant. Overlooking San Diego Bay, Peohe’s in Coronado has indoor and outdoor options for ceremonies and receptions. The restaurant, which can accommodate up to 150 guests, features a Pacific Rim themed menu with fresh seafood and island-style cooking.
Vintana Wine + Dine
Located in Escondido’s The Centre, Vintana Wine + Dine is a contemporary venue featuring cuisine by Chef Deborah Scott. From the outdoor Starlight Terrace to the Moonlight Veranda to the Crystal Ridge room, this restaurant, which is run by Cohn Restaurant Group, has flexibility for celebrations large and small.
Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant
With two private patios and two private banquet rooms, this Mission Valley restaurant is a great choice for rehearsal dinners and other wedding parties. What to expect? Award-winning handcrafted beers that are brewed on-site, yummy food and cozy ambiance like vaulted ceilings and brick walls.
Manchester Grand Hyatt
Located on the waterfront in downtown San Diego, Manchester Grand Hyatt is the largest hotel on the west coast. It has over 125,000 square feet of event space (including four ballrooms) and can accommodate over 1000 guests, as well as intimate gatherings. The hotel’s Coronado Ballroom has a private foyer and terrace showcasing views of Coronado and San Diego Bay. Executive Chef Sutti Sripolpa’s cooking is fresh and natural, using local and organic food. In-house kosher catering is also available.
The University Club Atop Symphony Towers
Atop the 34th floor of Symphony Towers in downtown San Diego, University Club is convenient for locals and out of town guests. The views of San Diego are impressive from this venue, which can host weddings as intimate as 12 to as large as 300 guests. You can customize your event menu too.
Situated in downtown San Diego, The Bristol has two event spaces, including the 4,400 square foot Starlight Room, which fits 400 for a cocktail reception or 180 for a sit-down dinner. Plus it’s the only venue with a retractable roof, giving you and your guests a panoramic view of downtown. The look and feel is both refreshing and glamorous.
Hornblower Cruises and Events
Sail along San Diego’s coast for your wedding celebration! Host your wedding on one of the Hornblower yachts, which can suit events with 20 to 500 guests. Exchange vows and then continue the party for a three to four hour event. The romantic voyage has many picturesque photo opportunities as well.
Favorite Ranches with Charm
This Valley Center ranch features gardens, vineyards and lots of rustic charm like the old barn. They can accommodate weddings as large as 500, with a menu of farm to table style cuisine. Melrose Ranch is big on grand entrances, including a royal car from England, a horse and carriage, and a horse-drawn wagon or tractor pulled wagon.
Historic Campbell Creek Ranch Estate
An outdoor-only venue in Alpine, Historic Campbell Creek Ranch Estate can host weddings with up to 300 guests. The 48-acre property provides a secluded, country experience with a romantic gazebo, a large lawn, tall pine trees, freestone walls and rustic bridges. Don’t miss the on-site photo opportunities too, especially a photo with one of the 17 horses that live on the ranch.
Rancho Bernardo Inn
You and your guests will have everything you need on-site for a weekend wedding at Rancho Bernardo Inn. In addition to ceremony and reception sites on property, there are indoor and outdoor rehearsal dinner locations, a spa and tranquility pool and a championship golf course. This rustic inn has many relaxing amenities like a garden, fountain and a wishing well. The golf course views are stunning too.
The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo
The Club will only host one wedding a day, which means the staff is dedicated to your event. Since it’s closed to members, you’ll also have the entire clubhouse to yourselves.
Enjoy panoramic lake and golf course views from the banquet space, which has floor to ceiling window. You can even have your ceremony on a candle lit patio overlooking the golf course. The ballroom is a fit for up to 200 guests.
Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club
Whether you choose a garden ceremony or a reception in the Mountain View Terrace, you’ll love the views at Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club. Overlook the golf course during your celebration and don’t forget to shoot photos at the course’s 11th hole waterfall and pond. The venue offers all-inclusive packages too.
The Crossings at Carlsbad
You don’t have to be a member to say “I Do” at The Crossings at Carlsbad. The public course is available for events in tents as well, with enough space for a tent that holds 300 guests. There’s a 28,000 square foot craftsman-style clubhouse with vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace that overlooks the course. Host your ceremony on the lawn and your celebration will have ocean views too.
Japanese Friendship Garden
A quiet and pretty respite in Balboa Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden allows you to enjoy nature during your big day. The garden is wedding-ready, thanks to all the beautiful natural décor. Opening in 2015 – a new, larger wedding venue at the garden with seating up to 300 guests! This new space will still offer the same “zen” appeal.
Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites
This tropical setting along Shelter Island is ideal for outdoor ceremonies and receptions. Celebrate romance and style at this venue, which can host weddings as intimate as 30 and as large as 1000. Kiss under the magic of twinkle lights against the San Diego skyline. The lush garden and waterfront views also make for beautiful photos.
The Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa
Want a Hawaii experience in San Diego? Consider The Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa on Mission Bay where waterfalls, palm trees, lush landscaping and tiki torches make you feel the Aloha spirit. The hotel also has three ballrooms, including the Aviary Ballroom that has a private balcony and boasts floor to ceiling windows with views of Mission Bay.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
This 44-acre resort along Mission Bay combines tropical beauty with romance. You can choose from the many ceremony and reception sites on the property, since the resort has over 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including lush gardens, lagoons, lawns and beaches, as well as ballrooms. You and your guests will also relax in luxury in one of the resort’s 462 bungalows.
Kona Kai Resort
Fresh off a recent makeover, Kona Kai embodies Southern California style. With over 43,000 square feet of outdoor space and 13,000 square feet of banquet space, the resort is ready to host your wedding. Celebrate in a variety of places like the courtyards, patios and even a private beach.
Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center at the Golf Club of California in Fallbrook
You don’t have to be a member to enjoy your wedding at this golf club in Fallbrook, which impresses with views of the golf course lake and the nearby mountains. On property you’ll also find a fountain courtyard, indoor/outdoor fireplaces and 30-foot ceilings in the banquet hall. You’ll love the all-inclusive packages of this venue, which is close to both San Diego and Temecula.
Conveniently located in Mission Bay near SeaWorld, Marina Village can host up to 350 guests. There are two outdoor ceremony sites with marina backdrops. You’ll get the ceremony site for three hours, with 100 chairs and a white wooden arch. Then celebrate in one of the event rooms, which have vaulted ceilings, loft spaces and built-in dance floors.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Add a bit of history to your wedding day by holding your event on one of the Maritime Museums of San Diego’s historic vessels. The 1898 Berkeley ferryboat is a fit for up to 1200 guests. It has two open-air decks and the Ladies’ deck and dance floor has Victorian styled stained glass windows. Another choice is the Star of India, which is ideal for weddings with as many as 600 guests. Built in 1863, it’s the oldest active sailing ship in the world. Did you know this ship circled the globe 21 times?
Located in the House of Hospitality at Balboa Park, The Prado combines timelessness and romance with style and sophistication. With food from award winning chef Jonathan Hale, the restaurant is owned and operated by The Cohn Restaurant Group. Ceremonies are ideal on the multi-level terraces of the Casa del Rey Moro Gardens. The Grand Ballroom, which has 27-foot hand-stenciled ceilings and seats up to 320 people, is also fully equipped as a Theatrical Stage.
The Centre Escondido
This venue in Escondido has it all: an event space, a car dealership (Lexus of Escondido) and food (Vintana Wine + Dine) as well as fashion and art. The Centre has a variety of event spaces, which are modern and have lots of natural light. The venue whose motto is “time well spent” focuses on being elegant, yet approachable.
Overlooking San Diego’s downtown, El Cortez opened in 1927. The venue, which has classic décor like a Mahogany ballroom floor, oiled bronze handrails and a 24 karat gold leafed ceiling with mica chandelier, can hold weddings with guest lists from 20 to 500. Since the venue doesn’t have an on-site caterer, choose one of El Cortez Don Room and Terrace’s preferred caterers.
The US GRANT
A historic hotel in the heart of downtown San Diego, The US GRANT offers luxury and romance, for parties ranging in size from 30 to 700. Among your event choices: the Crystal Ballroom, the Chairmans Court, the Chaffee Court, and the Palm Court as well as ballrooms for larger parties, the Celestial Ballroom and Presidential Ballroom (which has nine crystal chandeliers!).
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
Show off your animal appreciation by holding your wedding at the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park, which both have multiple ceremony and reception locations for celebrations with 25 to 500 guests. The outdoor events feature lush backdrops and natural beauty. At the Zoo, indulge in a plantation-style reception at the Treetops Room and dance the night away at the Zoofari Party Area. With event locales like Lagoon Overlook, featuring exotic plants and rare birds, and Heart of Africa, an African safari feel, Safari Park’s wedding offerings are impressive and can take you and your guests “away” even though you’re close to home.